Sharing the Positive

IMG_8227This has been on my mind to write for awhile.

I’m a member of several Facebook groups, like Humans of New York and the Kindness Challenge. But I also click any link that promises a happy story, one that highlights the positive things my fellow man does.

While most of the comments on these positive posts are encouraging and loving, I do sometimes see people ask why the person filmed and shared what they did instead of just quietly and altruistically doing it.

While I understand the sentiment, I also know that we’re in a world where, if it’s not captured by a cameraphone or on social media, it didn’t happen.

The news inundates us with all the worst stuff that people do to one another. I don’t care if the people who share these videos are looking for attention. I don’t care if they wouldn’t do this nice stuff if no one was watching.

I care that they did something nice for another human being, and I get to see that good stuff happens in the world. Sometimes it doesn’t feel like it. Good deeds are good deeds, no matter the motivation. Spreading positivity is always better than the alternative.

We’re in an increasingly connected, visible world. I can’t imagine what it must be like, as a teenager and young adult, to have all the stupid things you said and did preserved in a public forum. So when someone shares a video of some kindness they did, don’t look at it as vanity (though it might be). Look at it as a product of the times, and be glad you got to see someone doing something nice for one another.

The world can always use more kindness.


Feel Good Friday

On Fridays, I post about good news that happens in the world.

Bird of Paradise in San Diego Photo Credit: Doree Weller

Bird of Paradise in San Diego
Photo Credit: Doree Weller

I’ve been doing Feel Good Friday for over 6 months now, and what I’ve found is that it’s getting easier and easier for me to find positive news stories.  I’d like to think that it’s because the world has become a better place in the last 6 months, but I think that’s even beyond my optimism.  I think what’s really happened is that because I’ve trained myself to look for positive news stories, I see them more often.  People know I do this, so they send me good news stories to be featured here.

The fact that I see what I look for just proves what I keep saying: you find what you look for.  Keep expecting to see all the bad stuff, and that’s what you’ll see.  Expect the good stuff though, and the world opens up in unexpected ways.

So, welcome to this week’s version of Feel Good Friday.

Eva Mozes Kor is a woman who survived the Holocaust.  She talks about the power of forgiveness, and has forgiven the Nazis for the Holocaust.  She’s even “adopted” as a grandson the man who is the actual grandson of the former SS commander of Auschwitz.  Forgiveness is powerful; it had the power to release you from what imprisons you mentally.  It doesn’t excuse or justify; it’s simply a gift you give yourself.  This is a powerful article.

Charlie walks his dogs every day, but when he got leukemia, it became harder for him to complete his walk.  Some neighbors noticed, and so they put chairs on their lawn so that he could rest if he needed to.  It’s a simple gesture, but it made him feel cared about.  Remember, sometimes the simplest things we do for others have the largest impact.  Putting chairs on the lawn is not a big deal to most of us, but to Charlie, it meant that others cared, and that he could keep doing something he loved.

Vivian Boyack and Nonie Dubes have loved one another since 1942, and they finally got married last year.  They said that they weren’t sure, even after 72 years, that they wanted to go public with their relationship, and that “we’ve always been married in our hearts.”  I can’t help but cheer for marriage equality, even while thinking how unimaginably difficult it must have been for them to love one another for so long but hide their relationship from others.  I’m so glad that they finally had the choice to marry; they deserve their commitment to be acknowledged and applauded.  72 years is an amazing milestone for anyone.

The UK did a survey on why women don’t work out, and found that it’s because of fear of judgement.  More people die from inactivity than obesity.  That’s right, kids: it’s better to be an active fat person than a sedentary skinny person.  So, instead of just telling people to work out, they made a video of real women sweating, jiggling, showing off love handles and stretch marks.  And guess what?  In my opinion, it’s beautiful.  Watch the video, and then go out and do whatever you love to do.  Be fearless and confident, because that, more than your weight or perfect hair or makeup, makes you beautiful.

Do a good deed.  Smile at someone.  Thank someone.  Tell someone what they mean to you.  Be the unique and wonderful you that you are.

Go forth and be amazing today.